Ambassador Lt. General (Rtd) Lucas Tumbo was summoned to Nairobi over the weekend for what the Kenyan government called urgent consultations over the issue.
The government in Nairobi said in a statement that its actions are a consequence of “a most regretful and egregious decision by Somalia to auction off oil and gas blocks in Kenya’s maritime territorial area that borders Somalia”.
The auction is supposed to have taken place in London, United Kingdom, on the 7th February.
"This unparalleled affront and illegal grab at the resources of Kenya will not go unanswered and is tantamount to an act of aggression against the people of Kenya and their resources.
"This outrageous and provocative auction deserves and will be met with a unanimous and resounding rejection by all Kenyans as well as all people of goodwill who believe in the maintenance of international law and order and the peaceful and legal resolution of disputes," said the statement from Kenya’s Foreign Affairs ministry.
According to the statement, Kenya, through multiple channels including direct diplomatic demarches at the highest of levels has sought to find an amicable and peaceful resolution to the maritime boundary dispute and has severally stated its unequivocal claim of the maritime area that it said is historically Kenyan.
"Kenya has willingly and procedurally enjoined itself to the international legal processes of international boundary disputes, including but not limited to, bilateral negotiations and subservience to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) where this matter of the Kenya/Somalia boundary currently rests," added the statement.
Kenya accused Somalia of ignoring the internationally acceptable norms of boundary dispute resolution and or political and diplomatic disagreements.
“It is tragic and most regretful that the government of Somalia has chosen to take this action against a people and a state that has stood by the Somali people through incredible humanitarian and political hardships. Kenya has stood by Somalia without once flinching on its responsibility to its neighbour nor shirking its international responsibility to the people of Somalia”, it added.
Kenya said it regrets that the action of the government of Somalia has undermined and “severely damaged” the existing cordial relations between the Nairobi and Mogadishu and has compromised half a century’s worth of dedication and cooperation between the two countries.
On 6th February, 2019, the Foreign Affairs ministry in Nairobi, alarmed at what it saw as the incorrect display and characterization of Kenyan maritime territory as belonging to Somalia, during the London auction, summoned the Somali Ambassador to Kenya and formally demanded a withdrawal of the incorrect map displayed at the conference and a cessation of the auction of the oil and gas blocks in Kenya’s territory.
According to the ministry the Ambassador of Somalia received the protest (demarche) and confirmed on the same day that Kenya’s alarm and consternation at developments at the London conference, had been registered at the highest level of the Somali government.
It was agreed that there would be a speedy and amicable response to Kenya’s objections.
At the same time, Kenya’s Ambassador to Somalia received his instructions to formally deliver his country’s protest to the government of Somalia which, again, the envoy had reportedly confirmed was received at the highest level of the Somali government.
The government in Mogadishu has not reacted to the latest turn of events by the Kenyan government.